George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Tobias Lear, 21 April 1791

To Tobias Lear

Newburn, No. Cara Aprl. 21st. 1791.

Dear Sir,

Not having heard from you since I wrote to you from Richmond, the purpose of this is only to let you know where we are, and to cover the enclosed for Mrs. Washington.1

We have, all things considered, come on tolerably well, yet, some of the horses, especially the two last bought—are not a little worsted by their journey, & the whole if brought back, will not cut Capers as they did at setting out.2

I came to this place yesterday and shall proceed on tomorrow.3 Wilmington 100 Miles from hence will be my next halting place, from whence if the Post of this evening brings letters to me, they will be answered, for there will be no time to do it here, as not more than an hour is allowed him to stay. My best wishes to Mrs. Lear.4 I am Yr Sincere & Affecte. friend P. S. The Post is just arrived without any letters for me.

Letters and Recollections of George Washington, description begins Letters and Recollections of George Washington: Being Letters to Tobias Lear and others between 1790 and 1799, showing the First American in the management of his estate and domestic affairs. With a diary of Washington’s last days, kept by Mr. Lear. New York, 1906. description ends 39. What is presumably the original receiver’s copy was privately owned in 1939 by Mr. Henry Eyre of New York City (Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed. The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799. 39 vols. Washington, D.C., 1931–44. description ends , 31:285, n.65).

1The enclosure has not been identified.

2The “two last bought” horses were probably the bays GW purchased from William Davidson’s stables in Philadelphia on 7 March. See GW to Charles Pinckney, 29 Mar. 1791, n.1.

3GW left New Bern early on 22 April and dined the same day at Trenton, N.C., where he was greeted by members of King Solomon’s Masonic Lodge, who presented an address drafted and signed by William Gardner: “Sir, Impressed with the purest Sentiments of Gratitude & Brotherly love, Permit us the Members of King Solomons Lodge at Trenton North Carolina (now in Lodge Assembled) to Hail You Welcome to this State, & Salute you as a Brother. We should feel ourselves remiss in our Duty were we not to Congratulate you on your Appointment to the Head of the Executive Department of the United States—That the great Architect of the Universe may long preserve your invaluable life to preside over a great & free People & to the Advancement of the United States in Opulence, order & Felicity, is the sincere wish of the Members of this Lodge” (DLC:GW). No reply of GW’s to this address has been found. See Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 6:118.

4Tobias Lear replied on 15 May.

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